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Pokemon was a huge phenomenon when the show and game debuted in the '90s, and over 20 years later the franchise is still rolling strong. In fact a new anime was just released called Pokemon Journeys: The Series, which is a soft reboot of the adventures of Ash Ketchum that incorporates all the added changes to Pokemon that have happened over the years.
While this new series so far addresses my main issue growing up of how Ash was a Pokemon enthusiast but seemingly oblivious to Pokemon of other regions (because they hadn't been created yet), there are some weird things about Pokemon that will never change. Below are some of the weird things we've been forced to accept across various shows over the years, and problems that may persist as Pokemon Journeys: The Series continues its run.
Ash Ketchum Doesn't Age
Ash Ketchum isn't the first cartoon character in history to stay the same age for a prolonged period of time, but this phenomena is especially strange in the Pokemon franchise. If the series were episodic it would be no big deal, but because Ash still acknowledges all his friendships, Pokemon, and gym battles of the past, it's kind of weird that he's still canonically 10 years old in Pokemon Journeys: The Series despite beginning his journey over 20 years ago in Pokemon: Indigo League. Even if it hasn't been quite that long in the series, it's hard to deny at least a year (likely more) has passed in-universe since the series' start.
People Eat Pokemon, Even Though Many Are As Smart As Humans
Pokemon live and work alongside humans, and while the series pushes this notion that the world exists in harmony, it often overlooks a dark secret frequently seen in Pokemon: Indigo League. People very clearly eat Pokemon, despite the fact that there are Pokemon intelligent enough to work in the healthcare industry, law enforcement, and other various jobs around the world. How exactly do people distinguish which species are morally allowed to be eaten and which ones aren't? The original series did feature brief glimpses of actual normal animals that weren't Pokemon, but those haven't been seen in later installments. Is it just understood that some Pokemon get a better purpose than others?
Ghost Pokemon Exist, And That's Just A Universally Accepted Fact
Ghost-type Pokemon have been in the franchise since the very beginning, and that alone raises so many questions. The world of Pokemon has definitive proof of the existence of the afterlife, but for whom? The show has been less definitive on the origins or specifics of these unique Pokemon, though the games allege Pokemon like Gengar and Yamask are human spirits. Also these ghost Pokemon are sometimes pretty twisted, like the time a group of Litwick almost drained the life from Team Rocket in Pokemon: Black & White. Even for a kids show, that's pretty dark!
Some Children Leave Home At 10 And Go Into The Wilderness With One Pokemon
Not all people become Pokemon trainers, but the ones who do have to be tough as nails. They leave home at 10 and are generally expected to travel their respective region with only the Pokemon they catch and their wits to survive. Ash did it, May (who is technically a Pokemon Coordinator) from Pokemon The Series: Ruby and Sapphire did it, and Goh from Pokemon Journeys: The Series has done it. It's a weird societal norm considering how dangerous the world of Pokemon is, but I guess a solid number of them survive, so why question it?
Pokeballs Contain Pokemon That Are The Size Of Bugs, And The Size Of Whales
When it comes to Pokeballs, it's one size fits all, and that's kind of insane given the large size disparity in Pokemon. Somehow it works, and that's about all we know about Pokeballs. We don't know how Pokemon live in there, how they eat, or how their mental state is if left in there for years on end while a trainer is off doing his thing with other Pokemon. It's a reality I'd rather not ponder, so like others, I try not to.
Ash's Pikachu Is Simultaneously One Of The Strongest And Weakest Pokemon Of All Time
If the Pokemon series followed the same logic of the games, Pikachu would be the strongest Pokemon in Ash's arsenal. So strong, in fact, that no Pokemon would cause much of a challenge. Pikachu has taken on legendary Pokemon and beaten them, but then also gets stuck in rudimentary traps laid by Team Rocket. There's just no consistency on Pikachu's strength, probably for plot purposes, but it can be frustrating when you see a Pokemon who has defeated God-tier opponents be bested by a glass case with a lightbulb on top.
People Are Frequently Injured By Pokemon In Violent Ways, But Ultimately Ok
All the Pokemon shows have shown human characters get electrocuted, burned, or even poisoned by Pokemon. Still, most people tend to shake these injuries off despite the fact that they should be at the very least life-threatening if not outright fatal. I guess it wouldn't be quite as entertaining if Jesse, James, and Meowth were killed the first time Pikachu blasted them off, but dammit, it would be way more believable than them getting back into the game the very next episode!
Team Rocket's Obsession With Capturing Pikachu
Jesse, James, and Meowth are about as prevalent in the Pokemon story as Ash Ketchum himself, and they're almost always going after his Pikachu. The series has never done an exceptional job of explaining why, especially since canonically speaking Pikachu are a rather common Pokemon. For all the time they've spent trying to steal Ash's Pikachu over the years, they could've captured their own and trained it to be just as strong! If they're looking for a truly unique Pokemon to give to their boss Giovanni, why not hunt legendaries or at least remind him they have a Meowth who can converse with humans?
Have any other issues with the Pokemon universe? Air all grievances in the comments below and stream Pokemon Journeys: The Series on Netflix. Be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for more on what's happening in the world of television and movies.